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Graphic courtesy of the city of San Marcos

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The projected site of Buc-ees would be south of Yarrington Road on the west side of Interstate 35.
Graphic courtesy of the city of San Marcos

Council supports incentives for new Buc-ee's

Thursday, February 22, 2024

The famous beaver could be coming to San Marcos, and he’s bringing with him sweets, treats, restrooms and anything else an Interstate 35 traveler may need. The San Marcos City Council voted unanimously in favor of an Economic Development Incentive Agreement with Buc-ee’s San Marcos, LLC., which will provide incentives in the form of refunds of 50% of sales taxes generated by the company over 15 years for the construction of a new Buc-ee’s Travel Center along IH-35 south of Yarrington Road at the regularly scheduled meeting Tuesday. This vote was on the first of two readings, so it is not yet final.

“We’ve kind of become a destination,” Buc-ee’s Real Estate Director Stan Beard said. “It’s as much of a … unique place to stop in a city as a museum or a park really.”

The San Marcos Economic Development Manager Christian Smith said, if approved, Buc-ees would build an approximately 74,000 square foot Family Travel Center that would have 120 fueling positions with capacity for electric vehicle charging. He said the center would create 175 full time jobs at minimum to operate the business, but will likely be between 200 and 225 jobs, with an average annual wage of $43,855 each.

San Marcos City Council Member Jude Prather said he was excited about the project.

“I hope this sends a message that San Marcos is open to investment,” Prather said. “We would love to have your business move here. Thank you for choosing San Marcos as your next location. I know you will be a good corporate citizen in our community.”

While the council was unanimous in their approval, there were several community members who spoke out against the Buc-ee's, including Curtis Payton, who owns an interest at a local insurance agency.

'This past Saturday ... I was going to H-E-B in New Braunfels, and I pulled off into the Bucee's to get gasoline,' Payton said. 'It took me five minutes just to get to the pumps. They have 120 gas pumps. They have 1,000 parking spaces. And I kid you not, I drove around three times and every gas pump was filled. It was a zoo. Now, I love Buc-ee's. It's like Disney World, but I don't want Buc-ee's outside of my subdivision. This is going to create a huge traffic issue.'

Smith said the proposed terms for the agreement are a capital investment of $50 million. There will be no rebate of property taxes, which means there will be 100% capture by the city of San Marcos, Hays County and Hays CISD. For the city, Smith said, that equates to $5.9 million over a 15 year period. The county's property taxes would be $2.8 million and Hays CISD's $1.4 million over the same time period. Bucee’s would get 50% of the sales tax rebates over a 15 year period, which Smith said would be an estimated $3.2 million payment from the city to Buc-ee’s with the same amount of the collected sales taxes staying with the city. The sign standards have been modified to allow for a 68 foot pole with a sign face area of 360 square feet and that will prominently feature San Marcos’ name. The company is to donate $100,000 to the city community fund. Buc-ee’s must harvest rainwater, have oil water separators and lighting standards. Buc-ee’s must make an effort to hire local residents, contractors and suppliers.

San Marcos City Council Member Mark Gleason said he thought the location was great for a Bucee’s.

“I hope this passes,” Gleason said. 'I too personally have qualms with the 15-year agreement. I would not be supporting it if it were property taxes. … Sales tax is a different animal. We will immediately see sales tax coming in from this, property taxes and all of the money coming in back to the community from the jobs that this is going to provide. This is a huge win for us.”

City Council Member Saul Gonzales asked Beard if Buc-ee’s would move forward with the agreement if the 360 square foot sign was not approved.

“Whenever we approach a community the understanding is that we believe we bring a valuable asset to a community,” Beard said. “The short answer to your question is that we would not be having this conversation [if it were not approved].”

Smith said the Buc-ee’s would be located on a 22 acre site on the frontage of southbound I-35.

“An environmental analysis of the site [shows that] it’s not located within any Edwards Aquifer [recharge] zones or water quality zone, and the site is outside of the 500-year floodplain,” Smith said. “The company will be installing one or more oil water separators to receive runoff from the fueling area on this project.”

Smith said some of the environmental protections in the agreement are new to the company.

“What’s really unique about this project is Bucees will be installing a rainwater harvesting system, which would be a first for the company and will be debuting at the San Marcos location,” Smith said.

San Marcos Assistant Director of Engineering Richard Reynosa said that the traffic impact analysis has been reviewed.

“We are comfortable with those numbers,” Reynosa said. “The site's location is pretty optimal because you can get to the site without going through an intersection or a traffic signal. You can exit southbound [interstate] to the site. You can get back on southbound [interstate] without going through the Yarrington intersection. … I don’t know that it’s anticipated for this to be a destination northbound necessarily because you have the New Braunfels location, but even northbound you can get to the site without going through the signal.”

This is not the first time a truck stop has been proposed at the I-35 and Yarrington Road intersection.

According to a San Marcos Daily Record article from 2016, there was a “simmering dispute” in the past over a planned truck stop at almost the same location but in the city of Kyle's jurisdiction.

“Sitting just inside the city limits of Kyle and on the northern border of a San Marcos neighborhood, the site has seen two proposals for a truck stop, once in 2013 and now again [in 2016]” the article stated. “Both times the city of San Marcos has asked for the city of Kyle to not approve it.”

More information on the development agreement can be found on page 333 of the regular meeting packet, which can be found at this link 02202024-3762.

San Marcos Record

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P.O. Box 1109, San Marcos, TX 78666